Sri Lanka: Global Road Map Versus Great Indian Roadblock At Geneva – Analysis

By Prof. Ramu Manivannan

There is an uneasy silence prevalent in New Delhi about the 19th session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in Geneva. Though the Indian government wants to keep its cards close to its chest the world is no longer prepared to play blind. At the same time the Indian government may not miss an opportunity of carrying earthen pots to Geneva, like our Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna did in Colombo in January this year to observe Pongal, in order to demonstrate our love for the Tamils of Sri Lanka and their cultural traditions. There are no myths left and all our pots are broken.

Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka

The exceptional political and diplomatic support extended by India during the final phase of the war flows from the commitment of the Indian political establishment for the military solution enforced by the Sri Lankan government and its authorities. It is the brutality of the truth that hurts India more, not truth as it is.

The Government of India has a responsibility to explain to the people of this country about the status of political reforms and rehabilitation of the Tamils displaced after facilitating the military resolution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

An unthinkable humanitarian disaster was allowed to take place in Sri Lanka through such pre-match political fixations operated by the Indian political establishment and a string of power manoeuvring bureaucrats. Our moral content is beyond redemption when the retiring foreign secretary of the Government of India went on a personal vacation to Colombo as a private guest of the Sri Lankan President before being appointed as the ambassador of India to United States of America.

The Indian government is caught in an unique twin trap of global sentiments, on the one hand, about the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and the demand, on the other, from the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to not to support the Sri Lankan Government in the Human Rights Council in Geneva this month. The Government at the centre shares neither of these concerns even as a remote possibility. It must then hide in absentation like a school boy failing to appear before the scheduled examinations. It may therefore choose to absent itself from voting if it cannot influence the United States and the Nordic countries about the content of the resolution.

The world knows little more than what India wants the world to believe about its role in the brutal military resolution of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. Above all the complicity factor stares us more than supporting the resolution while absentation would help to keep our feet inside the Sri Lankan politics. We have shown enough stomach for humiliating rebuttals on political reforms and military-strategic turnarounds but cannot survive the exposure of the complicity factor if the Sri Lankan government chooses to use blackmailing strategy to enforce compliance with the its diplomatic ploy. India needs to ponder here. If the Indian Government gives in to this fear factor it will have the company of China and an historical precedent of Tibet before us. India must not repeat and push surrender another Tibet in the North and East of Sri Lanka and ultimately contribute to the growing constituency of homeless and despondent people in South Asia.

There are three basic options that India is likely to explore at this 19th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. First, scuttle the submission of any proposal that would demand even the slightest of political obligation on Sri Lanka. Secondly, to absent itself from voting after participating in the debate with its remarks on record. Lastly, to vote against Sri Lanka after enforcing moderation of the demands on the Sri Lankan government. The last option entails considerable political risks of witnessing the Sri Lankan display of China card in public.

A critical factor is that the Tamils have no demands on India except a stale belief that India would act at least sometime in the distant future whenever it wakes up to the calls of justice for Tamils in Sri Lanka. There is another section that believes that the Tamil struggle for justice must move on with or without the support of Indian government. This notion is more prevalent in Tamil Nadu than anywhere else. This perspective is held not only among the Tamil nationalists groups but also the common public who were stunned by the Indian indifference to the massacres and inhuman treatment meted to the ordinary civilians during the war. It will not be easy to erase the memories of internment camps or the so called welfare centres as the Sri Lankan government wanted the world to believe. An added shame is that our businessmen with access to corridors of power supplied these barbed wires to the Sri Lankan security forces who manned these mass detention centres in the Vanni region. That is why the appeal of the political parties and leaders across the political spectrum in Tamil Nadu including the ruling AIADMK, MDMK and even the pretentious UPA coalition member at the centre, DMK gains significance at this stage. The centre may once again ignore this growing constituency of parties, leaders and people in Tamil Nadu who remain disenchanted with the India’s foreign policy towards Sri Lanka.

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Ms. Jayalaithaa has only been this articulating concern through resolutions passed at the state legislature and political appeal to the Indian government with regard to the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Sri Lankan government and its authorities. There is certain sanctity to popular legislature and peoples’ voice in a democracy that the government cannot ignore for long before it is too late.

(Author chairs the Department of Politics & Public Administration in the University of Madras- The views expressed are his own.)


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25 thoughts on “Sri Lanka: Global Road Map Versus Great Indian Roadblock At Geneva – Analysis

  • March 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm
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    Author conveniently forgot that it was Indian Centre and TN government who created and armed LTTE and other militant groups in late 80s. Because of these stupidity of Indian policy makers hundards of thousands of Sri Lankans of all communities died in last 25 years. Also don’t forget that in 1987 Vadamarchchi Operations SL army encircled LTTE leaders in to small area without many civilians and it was about to get rid of LTTE leadership and it was STUPID Indian leaders intervined and stop Sri Lanka to achieve peace that time. If SL was able to did it in 87 it would be much easier to find solutions to Tamil grievances with moderate SL government we had that time. LTTE leader treated your STUPID leader with human bomb as a gift for rescuing him. You may nicely want to forget these but we Sri Lankans never forget these in our history. We learned the lesson in hardest way as usual we did in our history in Sri Lanka. We know India and Indian mentality better than anybody else in this world does. That is why we survived as a seperate country close to a giant neighbor for more than 2500 years.

    Reply
    • March 8, 2012 at 8:34 pm
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      India is traped and it has no way out. If India is to go against Sri Lanka, then it will surely show its might as it has done through out its history in dealing with India. Don’t for a second underestmate the cards that Sri Lanka has up in its sleaves. Sri Lanka shall prevail as it has always done throughout its history. The West will come and go, but India and Sri Lanka have to live side by side for ever. So, watch out India!

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      • March 9, 2012 at 1:34 am
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        @Christopher Kay:

        “Sri Lanka shall prevail as it has always done throughout its history.”

        Sri-Lanka prevailed throughout history? You were ruled by successive colonial powers such as the Portugese and the British and could do squat about it. The British finally left of their own accord. So much for Sri-Lankan might. Finally, if it was not for India’s support, you would not have had a chance in hell against the LTTE whom you outnumbered 100 to 1 but could not defeat for 30 years. And now you are talking “might” to India? It looks like your own BS has got to your heads.

        “Don’t for a second underestmate the cards that Sri Lanka has up in its sleaves.”

        Cards? The only thing Sri-Lanka has up its sleave is BS.

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        • March 9, 2012 at 5:07 am
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          @Rajah

          if it wasn’t for the meddling India Sri Lanka would have got rid of LTTE in 80’s, our military had them surrounded but India forced the Sri Lankan government to not finish them off, too bad China wasn’t that big of a threat to India in 80’s, since we were burnt by India, good thing our Government got China and Russia to back us.

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    • March 9, 2012 at 1:40 am
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      @Nirmal:

      “We know India and Indian mentality better than anybody else in this world does. That is why we survived as a seperate country close to a giant neighbor for more than 2500 years.”

      It would be better to read up on history before opening your mouth. Last 2500 years? Over 200 years ago, there was no single sovereign country called India. There were separate sovereign Kingdoms that would now and then be ruled by Emperors. Same with Sri-Lanka. There was no single Sri-Lankan country, there were separate Tamil and Sinhalese Kingdoms. The Cholas once ruled the majority of Sri-Lanka for hundreds of years. So much for your “separate country for 2500 years” theory.

      Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 1:10 am
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    Balderdash. The great humanitarian tragedy that happened in Sri Lanka was that India trained, and armed the most ruthless terrorist organization in the world. The tragedy ended with the deaths, misery and untold suffering of Sri Lankan people. The brutality of Indias heartless interfearence in the lives of Sri Lankan people ended with the government of sri lanka requiring to quash terror by even greater terror.

    Every tear drop fallen, every blood drop shed, every live lost and every child that became a suicide bomber; all their heartaches are the result of a sin committed by India in Sri Lanks.

    The war in Sri Lanka was a result of foreign interfearence. The break down of reconciliation efforts will also be due to outside interfearence.

    LEAVE SRI LANKA ALONG OR KARMA WILL GIVE SRI LANKANS JUSTICE.

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    • March 9, 2012 at 1:43 am
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      “LEAVE SRI LANKA ALONG OR KARMA WILL GIVE SRI LANKANS JUSTICE.”

      Karma is certainly giving Sri-Lankans justice alright. Every nation that supported Sri-Lanka 3 years ago at the UNHRC has since been devastated – Libya, Japan,Pakistan, the Islamic nations, the list goes on and on. And look at Sri-Lanka itself today. India will have its turn – the best is always saved for last.

      Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 1:39 am
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    Quote..”The Government of India has a responsibility to explain to the people of this country about the status of political reforms and rehabilitation of the Tamils displaced after facilitating the military resolution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.

    Well, in the same way, India is responsible to explain how and why they created, trained and utilised terrorists against a friendly neighbour (Sri lanka) to kill thousands of Tamils along with others for 30 odd years.

    Also, India must support an international and independant mechanism to investigate all those in India who involved in that “war crime” of creating a terrorist organisation to kill people in Sri lanka.

    There is a long list of Indian high officials and politicians who are to be investigated and punished for this terrible “war crime”.

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    • March 9, 2012 at 1:48 am
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      @Manjula:

      “Well, in the same way, India is responsible to explain how and why they created, trained and utilised terrorists against a friendly neighbour (Sri lanka) to kill thousands of Tamils along with others for 30 odd years.”

      Thousands of tamils? The LTTE did not kill thousands of tamils – that would be the Sri-Lankan government and the Sinhalese goons in successive anti-tamil riots. If the LTTE killed thousands of tamils, why did the TNA, the LTTE-proxy that never spoke a word against the LTTE sweep the elections in the tamil areas?
      It is this type of stupid statements by morons such as yourself that has led the world to not believe a word of what you say. Keep it up please.

      Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 1:46 am
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    Are you stupid? What is unthinkable humanitarian disater? SL governmrnt destroy bllody terrorist group whokilled thousans of people.

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    • March 9, 2012 at 1:50 am
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      @Frank:

      “What is unthinkable humanitarian disater?”

      According to the UN report, upwards of 40,000 civilians killed – that is the humanitarian disaster.

      “Are you stupid?”

      Uh..No. That would be you and the Sri-Lankan government that initially claimed for 2 years that not a single civilian was killed. That is what you call stupid.

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  • March 8, 2012 at 2:24 am
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    Killing 40000 innocent people is not justified in any case for stopping LTTE. Indiscriminate shelling and bombing need to be brought to justice. India!!! do not immerse your hands on blood by supporting SL government. Need to put a full stop on continue to occupy Tamil land and human rights abuses.

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  • March 8, 2012 at 2:26 am
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    The census data 1981, 2011, show that about 7000 people have not been accounted for, and given the time frame involved, the clandestine emigrations out of the country esp. across the Palk straits, etc., there is simply no evidence to
    suggest that a large number of people were killed in the final battle.

    This question has also been addressed by the LLRC report, and they give a lower figure.

    So this writer is simply pandering to the hysteria of the Tamil Diaspora outside the country, whose nubers are used by various NGOs, and writers like Gordon Weiss who are trying to cash in by book sales.

    The leaders of expatriate Tamils are absentee land lords who own most of the land in the North, and that is why they are mounting this vast effort to try to transfer power to their agents, the TNA.

    Reply
    • March 9, 2012 at 1:53 am
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      @kavsi:

      ” there is simply no evidence to
      suggest that a large number of people were killed in the final battle.”

      Alright, if you believe this, then you should be one of the first to support and independent investigation that would provide the evidence one way or the other because it will prove that you are right. So what are you afraid of? The truth?

      Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 3:19 am
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    The author is clearly a rank amateur when it comes to understanding of his facts as he misleads the readers by stating that India has a vote at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, when any diplomatic correspondence worthy of their salt knows that India has no vote to exercise here and so it is moot to waste space writing about a vote that India does not have. Also the writer is biased in his analysis as he does not even bother to say alleged, on the genocide accusations, and rattles on as if human rights violations took place in Sri Lanka for India to be concerned of complicity. Time for esteemed publications such as this to be wary of articles that carry blatant untruths as the premise for it’s very basis of writing .

    Reply
    • March 9, 2012 at 1:58 am
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      @Chris:

      ” Also the writer is biased in his analysis as he does not even bother to say alleged, on the genocide accusations,”

      The Sri-Lankan publications never use the word “alleged” on the so-called LTTE atrocities like using civilians as human shields etc. If the atrocities of the Sri-Lankan government have to be tagged as “alleged” because there was no-one there to see it, the same has to be tagged for the LTTE atrocities aswell for the very same reasons.

      Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 4:30 am
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    @Jay, you can keep repeating 40,000 deaths till your mouth hurts, but it is a big fat lie. The Panel of so-called experts appointed by Ban Ki Moon to discredit Sri Lanka made this figure up without using any acceptable standard of investigation. A comprehensive census showed 8,000 missing, including the LTTE terrorists involved in the fighting.

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    • March 9, 2012 at 1:56 am
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      @MarkS”:

      “@Jay, you can keep repeating 40,000 deaths till your mouth hurts, but it is a big fat lie. The Panel of so-called experts appointed by Ban Ki Moon to discredit Sri Lanka made this figure up without using any acceptable standard of investigation. ”

      Alright, lets have an independent investigation then. That would set the record straight. Why is Sri-Lanka averse to it?

      “A comprehensive census showed 8,000 missing, including the LTTE terrorists involved in the fighting.”

      Which “Comprehensive study” is this? One by a Government that claimed for 2 years that not a single civilian was killed?

      Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 4:59 am
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    The writer has a limited memory. How come he forgets the atrocities and crimes committed by the IPKF? They were so grave that the IPKF soldiers were not allowed to disembark in south india. India should,atleast now, learn that the more they interfere in Sri Lanka the messier they make it.Finally south Indians can show their love and care for their brethern in the north of Sri Lanka by putting a stop to stealing their livlihood by fish illegally in Sri Lankan waters.
    If India votes with the US it will one day come haunt India mark my words! Pakistan did all the dirty work for the dirty US and now they are treated like garbage. That is the US policy,use and throw away. Pakistan was their good friend when they were hell bent on dismembering India and now India has become their friend they longer need Pakistan any more. We Idnia,Pakistan,Sri Lanka and other SARC countries must stick together no matter what,must never allow out siders to use any one of us against another afterall we are stuck with each other, so we must make the best of it for us and not US.

    Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 7:53 am
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    When the whole world is acknowledging the fact about the mass killings and the genocide of tamil race, that have totally resulted in the loss of 1,40,000 lives (pl note 40000 only during the last few days) its obvious that the srilankan gov appointed commentors are doing their job in vain.. Mr.Rajabakse you are wasting money on suedos Marks, Nak, Chris, Frank, Nirmal..

    Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm
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    PROF. RAMU MANIVANNAN HAS FAIRLY SUMMARISED IN LAYMAN’S TERMS, THE CURRENT SITUATION FACED BY SRI LANKA AND ITS BIG-SISTER ALLY, INDIA. SRI LANKA MAY BE ONLY A TINY DOT IN THE MAP WHICH FORMS A PART OF HIS ARTICLE. BUT IT IS REALLY A MIGHTY DOT AND A ONCE- BLESSED SPOT IN WHICH I TOO AM PROUD TO HAVE BEEN BORN, EDUCATED AND HAD SERVED IN ALL SECTORS BEFORE I SETTLED DOWN IN THE U.K., STILL WISHING SRI LANKA WELL.

    IN TODAY’S CONTEXT, I FEEL INDIA MUST DO WHAT ITS MORAL CONSCIENCE TELLS IT TO DO, WITHOUT SELFISH AND SHORT-TERM CONSIDERATIONS BUT AS A WORLD LEADER WITH A HISTORICAL RECORD OF HUMAN EXCELLENCE AND TRUTHFULNESS — AS REFLECTED BY ITS ICON EPICS OF THE MAHABHARATHA & RAMAYANA AND THE THINKING OF ITS GREAT SAVANTS LIKE MAHATHMA GHANDI. DESPITE INDIA’S DEBATABLE RECENT INVOLVEMENT IN THE CIVIL WAR IN SRI LANKA AND THE EVENTS WHICH LED UP TO IT, INDIA MUST, I FEEL, NOW THINK AFRESH AND ACT LIKE A MATURE AND STATESMANLIKE WORLD LEADER, WITH HOLISTIC, HUMANITARIAN AND FUTURISTIC VISIONS.

    Reply
  • March 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm
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    India canot do anthing against Sri Lanka. If you try, China is there to help the Srei Lankans. Sri Lankans will happily provide all military facilities to China and be happy to be a friend of China. Sri Lankans never trust India. Because of Tamil Nadu and the Tamils close connection with India.

    Best advise for India is be carefull.

    Reply
  • March 9, 2012 at 2:12 am
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    I am surprised that this person is calling him a professor at a university. What they say about the low standards of the Indian universities must be true. His story line starts from point of the decline of his beloved LTTE. All legitimate governments in the past have put down uprisings. SL had to do the same with JVP. India did it in Amritsar. Remember the balack Sunday in the UK. A cancer which started with the help of the TN and Indira governments plagued SL for 3 decades. Now he is crying over the suffering of the Tamil people. Did he even notice that 300000 people moved with the LTTE willingly or not to provide the LTTE a human shield. It is also true that most of these people are illegal Indian immigrants who swam accross the Palk Strate as Kallathonies in the 50’s and the 60’s. Grow up and go get an education.

    Reply
  • March 9, 2012 at 3:16 am
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    “An unthinkable humanitarian disaster was allowed to take place in Sri Lanka ….” This is nonsense to say the least.

    After LTTE being eradicated no Tamil children were being abducted and used as cannon fodder. Indeed Tamil children are prevented from attending schools, universities etc now. After Pirapakaran and co was killed no LTTE women were brainwashed and trained to be human bombs and blast leaders like Rajiv Gandhi. After the war ended no old men were forced to carry guns as ‘makkal padai’ (Dad’s Army) to be sentries.

    In short Tamils were liberated and almost all IDPs has been resettled and they could get on with their business and travel the length and the breadth of Sri Lanka day or night and settle down anywhere in the country as they like.

    The so-called International Community and all its known lapdogs, puppets and stooges such as HR groups, Drusman and co and I/NGOs have criticized and opposed LLRC on various grounds from the very outset. They even refused to give evidence of anything they may have either by writing or orally.

    Amazingly, some of them started to praise the LLRC report no sooner it was out but complained the government is dragging its foot to implement it. What is strange is, they demand the government implement LLRC findings on selective basis. Startlingly, the US ambassador for Sri Lanka Ms. Butenis wanted President Rajapakse to use his popularity to implement not just selected parts of LLRC of their choice but their own Drusman report in full as well. That’s when she put the cat out of her bag.

    The US state department and rump LTTE may have different goals but their aim is the same: Rump LTTE want to have an ISGA or Eelam and the US want to have their bases in Sri Lanka. All this writing by rump LTTE, HR promoters, I/NGOs and journalistic paid hands is to prepare ground for that. Their main concerned right now is, agitating India against Sri Lanka. So, it has become a game for them.

    They leave no stone unturned in their effort to show India that Rajapakse is pro China and is against India. The US got its stooges to write article after article on a pseudo pearl of strings or Chinese military base being built in Hambantota. When the US failed to incite India to arm twist Sri Lanka to scuttle Chinese projects in Sri Lanka let alone rid the Chinese, that despicable Hillary Clinton visited Jeyalalitha to get her to pull strings on the Indian Centre.

    But the Centre knows it is Tamils that incite division of India long before Jinnah did. They knew very well that it took them 16A to squash that. One only has to shadow Vaico, Nadumaran and co and writing by many Tamil intellectuals to ascertain real aim of Tamil separatists. The Centre knows it all too well that given the slightest break Tamil will be hell bend to divide India.

    I say, it is in the best interest of India to side with other members of BRICKS and defeat the proposal backed by war mongers, liars and hypocrites outright.
    Leela

    Reply
  • March 9, 2012 at 12:56 pm
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    India is in a bind.
    On the one hand it envisages the China card of Sri Lanka and on the other the Tamil sentiments in India.
    Though Karunanidhi is in no position to exert pressure on the Tamil Issue, the case is different with J.Jayalalithaa, present CM of Tamil Nadu.
    If New Delhi were to wash its hands off the Tamils issue by indirectly supporting the Rajapakshe Government,the Congress can confidently forget Tamil Nadu in its electoral calculations in future.
    What is of real concern is the Moral bankruptcy of the Indian Government is its reluctance to even censure Rajapakshe on the Genocide of Tamils.
    Is it also due to its role becoming Public in supporting the Srilankan Government in the Genocide, of which New Delhi was aware , if not a participant.?
    How else can one view the New Delhi’s stand in the light of its past’concerns’ on Vietnam ,BanglaDesh etc vs its stand on Tamil Genocide?

    Reply

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